Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Health Advice

To help them access the help which is available through local and national organisations, the Department of Health has launched an online portal dedicated exclusively to the needs of disabled people. To access the Depatment of Health`s “Practical Guide for Disabled People or Carers”, please follow this link.
An area which could be particularly problematic for disabled people is employment. While there is a list of organisations and initiatives launched to assist people with disabilities in employment and link them to job opportunities, self-employment is another option worth considering.

What support is available to disabled people who consider starting up their own business and becoming self-employed?

Income Tax Allowance: on expenses including travel, subscriptions to magazines, heating and lighting the workplace in your home. If you have a disability and usually work 16 hours or more a week, you may be able to get extra tax credits. The disability must be one that makes it hard for you to get a job and you must be receiving, or have recently received, a qualifying sickness or disability-related benefit. To find out how to get extra tax credits, visit the HM Revenue and Customs website.

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG): the government`s guaranteed lending scheme intended to help smaller viable businesses who may be struggling to secure finance, by facilitating bank loans of between £1,000 and £1 million. To find out additional information please following this link.

Business Start-up Allowance from some Learning and Skills Councils (LSC) in England and The National Council for Education and Training for Wales or Local Enterprise Councils (LECs) in Scotland is part of a package which includes training in setting up a business and business planning.
All newly self-employed people have to register for National Insurance contributions and Income Tax. Booklet PFE1 from the Inland Revenue contains a registration form for National Insurance contributions and Income Tax. Many disabled people will not have to pay National Insurance contributions if they earn below the threshold. You will also not have to pay VAT if your annual turnover is less than a certain amount. If, however, it is above this amount, you will need to apply to Customs and Excise for VAT registration (0845 0109000). Further information is available from the Self-Employed Agency on 0845 9154515.
You can find all information necessary for setting up and developing your own business from the website of Business Link.

Where can people with disabilities find further help?

Take a look at the following booklet “Setting up in Business: A Resource Guide for Disabled People and their Advisers”. It contains practical information about tax, Access to Work Scheme, business planning, grants, finance and working from home.
You can request a copy by emailing: info@disabled-entrepreneurs.net
Disability Charity Leonard Cheshire and Sir Stelios Hajiloannou
Run the annual Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Award with a prize of £50 000.
You can find more information on the application procedure by visiting the organisation`s website.

Benefits Enquiry Line
for advice about all benefits and how to claim them.
Phone free: 0800 882200 (Mon-Fri 8.30-18.30, Sat 9.00-13.00);
For help filling in claim forms, phone free: 0800 441144.

Disability Benefits Helpline
Tel: 0845 7123456, for advice on Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance.

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs)
Provides advice on a wide range of money, housing, legal and other problems. See your phone book for local numbers.

DIAL (Disability Information Advice Line)
Run mostly by disabled people. See phone book for your local DIAL or call DIAL-UK.
Tel/textphone: (01302) 310123.

Disability Rights Commission.
Helpline: 0845 7622633 (Mon-Fri 8.00-20.00);

Disabled Living Centres (DLCs)
Local centres where you can see, try out and get information and advice on equipment. See ‘Equipment and aids for daily living’ under ‘Help with everyday needs’ for a list of centres or call the Disabled Living Centres Council. Tel: (0161) 834 1044;

RADAR (The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation)
Has a wide selection of helpful publications.
Tel: (020) 7250 3222
This article has been published in Issue 5 of Action for Social Integration’s Community Advice E-Newsletter, August 29th 2010

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Our Vision and Services

Our vision is of a society where no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health.

Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

Our Services

· Provide information, advice, advocacy

· Represent diversity communities in Health Care services, policies and strategies

· Organise training in health and social care in collaboration with local colleges

· Provide human resources ( including interpreters) who are suitable to the diversity communities especially to break language and cultural barriers

· Provides domiciliary care and support

· Provide services such specialised support for people with mental health needs, including people who suffer from short-term memory problems, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

· Provide visits to elderly people and help them with outings and home services

· Participate in local authority and NHS consultations , research events and programmes to voice the needs of diversity communities.

· Increase access to services and rights for disadvantaged people and the most vulnerable of our society

· Help and support unemployed people to look for work, including training and job preparation

· Provide legal advice in a range of issues from on Immigration and Asylum , welfare benefits, housing, health, education, community care, and training, employment, etc.

· Provide advice and guidance, information and practical help so that our service users can access opportunities they are entitled to

· Organise training and other community learning opportunities that provide new skills, increase confidence and motivation

· Support our service users to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training

· Provide support for young people with their education, training, confidence building, employment and social needs.

Objectives of our Diversity Living Programme:

· To promote the inclusion and participation of diversity communities* in integrated care.

· To inform policy, locally and nationally, and assisting in the formulation of effective policies, strategies and good practices in integrated care in order to contribute to improved health outcomes for the people from the diversity communities (e.g. Black and minority ethnic communities) and to ensure health services are able to meet their specific needs.

· To improve the quality of life for diversity people with disability, mental health problems and their families and carers through integrated care by providing inclusive advocacy and information.

· To provide service that enable diversity groups and individuals with disability /elderly and their carers to make the right choice for themselves and have an influence on decisions made about their future.

· To promote the rights of diversity people with disability, their families and carers and make sure their rights are safe and protected.

· To promoting access to information regarding healthcare issues and to raise awareness of the needs of diversity disabled children, young people, older people and their families.

· To promote the rights of older and disabled diversity people, helping them overcome and enable them to participate in decisions about their future

· To provide support and information to those suffering the isolation and loneliness that can be associated with disability and old age

· To fight against mental health stigma in refugee, black and minority ethnic communities and ensure no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health or disability.

*Diversity communities are older people, disabled people, Black, Asian, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other ethnic minorities.